The Indicator from Planet Money - A Few Freaky Facts

Stacey and Cardiff discuss some of the non-obvious ways the coronavirus pandemic — and the policy response to it — has reshaped the U.S. economy.

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Hey mon station card. If this is the indicator from Planet Money Kobe pandemic has transformed our lives in so many ways a lot of them just really big really obvious. He ran into Peter we talked about a lot of them people have been struggling to pay rent schools have been closed people have been spending more time at home. Also Industries, like the Performing Arts and restaurants have really struggled. But every once in a while, we also like to zoom in on some of the non-obvious ways things have changed things that might have slipped under the radar. And so today on the show. We are sharing 3 frankly bizarre unexpected facts facts about economic trends that we've been following facts that show just how unpredictable the economy's response to the events of the past six months has been okay, they're not fun. Like it looks like freaky sex acts. It's like fun fact Friday, but for economics

It's not Friday. So it's like it's freaky facts Tuesday. Maybe I don't know we'll work on I like food say I like Tuesday feels like a Friday Tuesday. I think we could make that they are those three facts right after a quick break.

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Okay, strange facts about the covid-19 me here we go. At the end of July more people said that they were doing okay financially then before the pandemic and the huge recession that was caused by the pandemic. That's according to a big new survey by the Federal Reserve. That was just released.

Also that they were doing okay financially at the end of July, that's more than the 75% of adults who said the same thing for the end of last year before all this started and this just seems really strange 11 million people have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and he will the economy also totally collapsed at the second quarter of the year. So what could explain this apparent contradiction between terrible economy? And so many people feeling fine about their finances what one reason according to the FED is that how people assess their financial situation is closely tied to whether they are still employed whether they kept their job and even though so many jobs have been lost it still the case that most people did keep their jobs and it millions of people who initially lost their jobs from the pandemic started have now been rehired another reason so many people say that they are still doing okay unemployment benefits were expanded by $600 a week for people who lost their jobs.

A lot of adults also got checks for $1,200 as part of the economic stimulus bill passed in March. The bed says these benefits really blunted the worst effects of the recession for a lot of people you're so going to keep in mind those $1,200 stimulus checks only went out once in the expanded unemployment benefits from the stimulus package expired at the end of July. So if the Federal Reserve is right in this really odd fact that more people say they're doing okay now than before the pandemic might just soon stop applying. Okay next in our lineup of freaky. Tuesday facts are weird surprising success stories. There are some companies that have done quite well, even companies within sectors that have been really badly damaged by this recession the travel and tourism sector has been hit really hard, but Air B&B is actually doing pretty well partly because a lot of people have booked more long-term staycations through the site and they're avoiding.

Hotels, but you know, I think our favorite example was pizza restaurant sector his obviously struggled restaurants in chains that focus on Pizza huge winners during the recession, but then just a couple of months into the pandemic spending a pizza restaurant was running more than 40% higher than last year. Where is 40% more pizza than we did last year that is you know, I mean that puts Pizza in just a way better category than anybody else fast food chains coffee shops casual diners the works and the possible reason for this trend is also really interesting big pizza chains have been kind of first to make it easy for customers to choose how they wanted to get their food in ways that were easy and safe there online apps were just way better designed and Domino's for example introduce something called car side pick up so that you can drive through a Domino's location check in with the app and then an employee deposits the pizza directly in

The trunk of your car, so there's no need to go inside and no contact between you and the employee.

Like pizza is the easiest of all the foods like it's just the whole meals in right there in a box that's got to have something to do with it. Right like when things are hectic you don't even need a place with Pizza Hut to the paper towels locked and you got kids at home you're working from home like the idea of just not eating a plate is very appealing like forget it crazy. I'm getting PSN mean pieces of flexible food among its many attributes. I suspect that has something to do with it. Yeah. Okay next up. The third surprising fact of pandemic life is about remittances. Now remittances are the money that immigrants working in the u.s. Send to relatives or friends back in their home country. And in fact, no country sends more in remittances to other countries than the United States and for some smaller countries like Honduras and El Salvador, for example remittances that they get from the US or just a huge deal more than 20% of their whole economy's and in the first six months of the year.

Remittances to both of these countries foul, which is what you would expect in a terrible recession that apply to some other countries as well. But here is the surprising fact about remittances to Mexico which receives more money in remittances from the US than any other country almost 40 billion dollars a year have actually gone up in the pandemic. In fact remains is to Mexico or more than 10% higher in the first half of the year than they were at the same time last year and Romanticism also been recovering fast in other countries throughout Latin America, even in the countries where they collapse in the early months of the pandemic, even though the US economy remains so weak. Okay. So what is going on one possible reason is that Latino immigrant workers are more likely to work in so-called essential jobs jobs that they've kept doing during the pandemic because they were considered necessary for the economy to keep running. So these immigrants were still making money and they could send that money.

The end another possible explanation is it the economies of so many other countries are in even worse shape than the US economy this especially applies to the Mexican economy, which was already shrinking before the pandemic and now is on Pace for its worst recession in a century, which means that even though things are obviously terrible here in the US a lot of Mexican immigrants are still finding ways to help their loved ones in Mexico who are facing a situation that might be even more desperate and that would be it through surprising economic Trends or facts about life in the pandemic but Stacy at you and I kind of last minute decided to throw in like a small bonus fact a sort of a sort of mini fact of our producers birthday today. Jamila Huxtable, but yes, they see as you and I were talking about this one yesterday and it's it for the first time since roughly the era of the Great Depression. So like 80 something years ago more than 1/2

Half of young adults aged 18 to 29 are now living with their parents more than half the majority yet to be precise before the pandemic roughly 47% of these young adults were living with her parents that is kind of to 52% one simple reason for this young adults are more likely to lose their jobs or to take a pay cut because of the pandemic another big reason just so many college campuses are still closed a lot of young adults who would be undergrad or graduate students have stayed home, you know another reason no card if that could be there at its love love for the folks. Ya that could play a role. I guess you don't believe it. Yeah. It's not an economist T reason but it doesn't mean it's wrong to there. It is 3 and 1/2, I guess surprising facts about life in the pandemic 3 + 3 + 3 in the bonus we can call it for fax or fax yet.

This episode of the indicator was produced by General Huxtable. Happy birthday to Mila and it was fact-checked by Sean. Saldania our editors Patty Hearst and indicator is a production of NPR.

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